Taliban ban women from appearing in TV dramas and order female newsreaders to wear ‘Islamic hijabs’ in Afghanistan
- Taliban has banned all TV dramas featuring women from being broadcast
- Female news readers must wear ‘Islamic hijab’, though it is unclear which kind
- Rules form part of new edict on TV programs from Ministry of Vice and Virtue
- Also bans shows that ‘promote foreign values’, ‘insult religion’ or ‘mock Afghans’
Women have been banned from appearing in Afghan TV dramas and female news readers told to wear ‘Islamic hijabs’ under repressive new Taliban laws.
All TV dramas in which women have appeared are now banned from the screen, edicts handed down by Afghanistan‘s Ministry of Vice and Virtue this week said.
Female news readers – who are already compelled to wear headscarves – must now wear ‘Islamic hijabs’ the rules added, without specifying exactly what that means.
It is just the latest repression of women’s rights by the Taliban since the Islamists seized control of the country in August, and further undermines their claims to have reformed and become more moderate.
All TV dramas featuring women have been banned in Afghanistan while female news readers have been told to wear ‘Islamic hijabs’, despite already wearing headscarves (pictured)
The laws were contained in a new rulebook issued by the Ministry of Vice and Virtue – which under the old Taliban regime was charged with enforcing its strict interpretation of Sharia – to ensure all media reinforces ‘Islamic or Afghan values’.
‘Those dramas…or programmes in which women have acted, should not be aired,’ the rules said.
The move drew criticism from Human Rights Watch (HRW), which said media freedom was deteriorating in the country.
‘The disappearance of any space for dissent and worsening restrictions for women in the media and arts is devastating,’ said Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at HRW, in a statement.
Other rules handed down by the Ministry include a ban on foreign films which promote ‘foreign cultural values’.
Any programme deemed to violate the principles of Sharia, or deemed insulting to religion or Afghans, is also outlawed.
Footage of men exposing ‘intimate’ body parts are also outlawed, without defining what body parts will be considered ‘intimate’.
It is just the latest repression of women in Afghanistan, who have been confined to their homes since the Taliban take-over of the country.
The ban on women in TV shows comes after all women were confined to their homes and told not to return to their jobs unless they cannot be done by a man (file image)
Girls have been banned from attending school, and women have been told not to return to work unless their position cannot be filled by a man.
The Taliban insists these measures are ‘temporary’ until they can ensure the ‘safety’ of women, but this has done little to reassure those in the country or observers.
Taliban governors have also banned female sport, with members of the Afghan women’s volleyball saying they have been forced into hiding after being threatened.
The captain of the volleyball team, speaking anonymously, even went so far as to suggest last month that one of the players had been beheaded.
Afghanistan, which for two decades was run by a Western-backed administration and propped up using trillions of dollars in aid payments and other handouts, fell back into Taliban hands this year after Joe Biden withdrew troops.
The government and armed forces collapsed within a matter of weeks, with the Taliban sweeping virtually unopposed into Kabul.
Such was the speed of the take-over it surprised even the militants, who are now struggling to get to grips with governing and a myriad of issues facing the country.
Top of the list is the near-total collapse of the Afghan economy which has caused widespread poverty and soaring food prices, with the World Food Program warning that 90 per cent of civilians could need aid to survive the winter.
Meanwhile thousands of people are fleeing the country rather than submit to Taliban rule, triggering a refugee crisis in surrounding nations that has begun spreading to Europe and creating a brain-drain effect within government ranks.
The Taliban is also facing security threats from regional rivals, with ISIS-K – the terror group’s Afghan branch – launching suicide attacks against mosques in an attempt to destabilise their fledgling regime.